DENVER — For the first time in 25 years, teachers employed by Denver Public Schools will strike. Picketing is scheduled to begin 7 a.m. Monday.
DPS has been negotiating with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (the union representing teachers) about teacher pay for 15 months. On Saturday, union leaders walked out of last-minute bargaining efforts with DPS, saying a strike would start Monday.
DPS says all schools will be open
DPS said via Twitter Sunday that all of its schools will remain open on regular schedules.
However, there have been doubts as to whether DPS will be able to staff enough substitute teachers to keep every school open during the strike.
All ECE (early childhood education) programs are canceled
While schools are set to be open as usual, all early childhood education classes are canceled Monday through the end of the strike. About 4,700 students are enrolled in ECE programs.
Mayor Michael Hancock said parks and recreation centers will extend their hours during the strike to accommodate anticipated increased volume.
The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver said it will continue to open and operate all of its clubs, both in neighborhood locations and in schools affected by the strike, so long as the schools stay open during the strike.
Highlands United Methodist Church is preparing to accommodate 30 more children in its licensed daycare facility.
The DCTA has established food banks for students’ families at four locations in the city
Those locations include:
- Northwest: Denver Firefighters Local 858, 12 Lakeside Lane
- Northeast: IBEW Local 111: 5965 East 39th Avenue
- Southwest: National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 47: 5151 West 1st Avenue
- Southeast: Unite Here Local 23: 5303 East Evans Avenue # 302
Donations can be dropped off between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The Problem Solvers put together a list of additional resources for parents.
Teachers will be picketing outside the schools where they teach
Picketing will take place between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. beginning Monday. Most striking teachers plan to picket outside the schools where they teach. According to organizers, picket lines will be on sidewalks off school property.
Negotiations will not resume until Tuesday
At Saturday night’s negotiations, the DCTA said it will not return to the bargaining table until Tuesday. Therefore, the strike is expected to last at least through the school day Tuesday.
The latest DPS offer is still $5.5 million short of what teachers are requesting
On Saturday, Superintendent Susana Cordova put forward a new plan with $23 million in new funding for teachers, which is $2.5 million more than the previous offer, but $5.5 million shy of what the DCTA wants.
In her latest plan, Cordova said she would be cutting approximately 150 positions from the DPS central office, which is equivalent to roughly $20 million in savings. She also committed to eliminating performance-based bonuses for central office employees. Both of those plans received applause from teachers attending the negotiations.
DPS also bumped its initial offer of a 10-percent increase in base pay to a 10.9-percent increase. However, some teachers said that figure should be higher, as they believed too much of the new funding was going toward incentives.
Additionally, Cordova said the district’s new language for continuing education credits would be similar to that of the nearby Boulder Valley School District.
Retention bonuses for high-priority schools would jump from $2,500 to $3,000. The DCTA argued for eliminating such incentives entirely and putting that money toward base pay.
On Sunday, Cordova said she was disappointed the union did not return to negotiate once more before the strike.
Recent strikes have lasted an average of seven school days in other districts
Teachers in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Los Angeles and Pueblo recently went on strike. In those districts, the strikes lasted an average of seven school days.
Additionally, most of the districts closed schools during their strikes. One exception was in Los Angeles. According to numbers reported by our news partner KTLA, only about one-third of students attended school during the L.A. teacher strike.